First, let's quickly touch on yesterday's games. One was quite entertaining while the other was a bit of a snoozer. For the Redskins, I guess Todd Collins came back to earth and realized just who he was. One thing that stuck out to me was just how underrated that Seattle defense is. They can really get pressure on the quarterback. I'm very interested in seeing how the Seahawks perform next week in Green Bay. It should be an entertaining game.
As for last night's game, I was very disappointed in how the Steelers performed, especially Ben Roethlisberger. I expected a much better outing from him. But he made some poor decisions and, at times, looked almost lost out there. Maybe it was the lack of a running game frustrating Ben and making him feel like he had to make plays. Regardless, bad job by Big Ben. I was also very disappointed in the play calling on Pittsburgh's 2nd to last drive. They had the ball and a one point lead with 3:43 left to play. And they call 3 conservative run plays in a row, the last a QB sweep with Big Ben on 3rd and 6. C'mon...grow a set and try to win the game. Instead, the Steelers played that possession not to lose. And it cost them. It gave Jacksonville great field position which allowed them to get in great shape to kick the winning field goal. Now, I know some might question Mike Tomlin's decisions to go for the 2 point conversions when he did. But he made the right call each time, in my opinion. But in hindsight, some will say those were bad calls. You can't look at it that way, though.
Now the Jaguars will travel to New England to try and bring down the mighty Patriots. But considering how bad the Jaguars played (despite still winning), I don't think they have it in them to pull off the upset. They were out-gained by 100 yards. David Garrard looked very shaky. And that defense, despite creating some turnovers, still surrendered way too many yards through the air. This was a game the Steelers lost rather than Jacksonville winning. And there's no way they can go up to Foxboro and hope for the same. Let's all pray they get their act together this week, though, and shock the league by pulling off the upset!
Onto today's games.
Playoff Record: 1-1
New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This game isn't exactly one of great national appeal, and that's mainly because the Bucs are such an unknown team, nationally speaking. But all they do, it seems, is win. Sure, they didn't have to play either of the elite NFC teams, but you still can't write them off, either. Their offense may not be high-powered, but they still have the #2 total defense in the NFL. And Jeff Garcia is a Giants killer in the postseason. Last year, Garcia led the Eagles on a late scoring drive to defeat the Giants and bounce them from the playoffs. And who can forget the classic 2002 playoff game when Garcia led the 49ers to a 39-38 comeback in over the Giants in which he threw for 331 yards and 3 touchdowns? Most Giants fans would agree that seeing Garcia oppose them in the playoffs is not a comforting thing.
But I think the Giants will win this game. But to do so, they will have to keep the ball on the ground and grind it out wit Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. This Bucs defense can be run against, as they rank just 17th in rush yards allowed. Also, the Giants will want to make sure they don't fall behind early and force Eli Manning to have to win them the game. Quite frankly, I don't think he can do it. But I do think Jacobs will have a big day and I do think the Giants will get pressure on Garcia. It'll likely be snoozer, but the Giants will get it done.
Giants win 20-10
Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers
When these two teams played back in week 14, it was the Chargers coming from 14 points back in the 4th quarter to win in overtime on a LaDainian Tomlinson 16 yard run. In that game, Tomlinson played exceptionally well, rushing for 146 yards and averaging 5.6 ypc. And that was with Tennessee's big DT Albert Haynesworth in the lineup. Meanwhile, the Titans were able to run the ball themselves, with LenDale While picking up 113 yards on the ground. However, the only thing I think we can take away from this game is that I fully expect Tomlinson to be effective rushing the ball yet again.
The Titans were able to get into the playoffs despite just going 1-5 against 2007 playoff teams. And that one win came against the Colts last week who were resting their players by halftime. They still were lucky to even win that game. They enter the playoffs on a 3 game winning streak, but they've been quite unimpressive in those games. They were actually losing 17-13 to KC late in the 3rd quarter before scoring 13 unanswered to pull that one out. The next week, they were outgained by the lowly Jets and needed 3 Chad Pennington turnovers to hang on to a 10-6 victory. Meanwhile, the Chargers are hitting their stride right now, winners of their last 6 and 10 of their last 12. And one of those victories was an impressive win over the Colts. Of all the first round games, this is the one that I could see getting ugly, especially if Vince Young (who is a gametime decision) can't go and Kerry Collins is forced to start. I think the Chargers enter these playoffs with a chip on their shoulder and will move the ball on the ground effectively against Tennessee. The only thing that worries me is Norv Turner. But even he won't screw this one up for the Chargers.
Chargers win 27-13
Again, let us know what you think. Also, use this thread to chat during the games as well, if you so desire.